Hammered gold and gold enameling

William Butler Yeats didn’t at all enjoy getting old, and like a Silicon Valley frat boy of the twenty-first century he tried to do something about it. One of his projects was to construct, elaborate and describe a model of himself as a poem self-transmigrated from a mortal body with ink-stained living fingers to an immortal mechanism: a prosody fabricating itself to carry out the work of eternity.


But Yeats also had a more practical project in mind. That one wasn’t an original poem; at the time, it was current in such other texts as the lyric of Irving Berlin’s song “The Monkey Doodle-Doo.” Its key word there, however, was not gold but gland, and that G-word wasn’t a bejeweled utterance gleaming in the air but a soft, flesh-muffled sense inside the body, warmed with the blood of mortal life and comical and shameful as life is comical and shameful. The joke is on you, sings gland’s song there through a mouthful of meat. I am going to give out on you no matter what, and so you are going to die.


In Ulysses, gland takes on the comically anti-transcendental form of a pork kidney in a Zionist butcher shop. But Yeats’s gland was delivered to him on what he conceived of as an altar, even if the altar happened to be an operating table in a zoo filled with funny animals. At the end of this note you’ll find the animal joke’s sacerdotal history, with medical illustrations.

And now, a century post-surgery, the air over the island of Oahu is filled with the descendants of escaped cage birds. This one, a Java finch, lives with her family in the shadow under my eaves. But my eaves also shelter a Photoshop workshop, and Photoshop has joined with the feather-warmed bird to bring a simulacrum of light to bear on her image.

And see: gland has become jeweled artifice, and a beak has become an artwork claiming for its rigid boniness the fleshly attribute of smiling human happiness.

A history of the monkey-gland operation is at uroso20-history

Two remedies for distress

In my state, the current lieutenant governor spends one day a week working his other job as an emergency room physician. He also makes media appearances to discuss the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But because he promotes science and because he is a Jew, the congregants of a Christian chapel now picket his residence at night, flashing strobes and creating noisy disorder. In the comment stream of the local newspaper they also discuss health policy in language whose wordplay seems to show the influence of Ezra Pound. There, the words attributed to the lieutenant governor are a sheeny dialect from about 1908, the year that Pound left the United States and cut himself off from American language. Of course if you turn on the TV in 2022 you won’t hear the lieutenant governor speaking like that, but Pound was the poet who wrote for eternity, “Literature is news that STAYS news.”

The dictum must also be true for other ways of thinking in language, such as politics and religion. So would you yourself like to be cured of distress, reader? Then perhaps the time has come for you to open your mind to one or both of these ancient word-cures. Their strength is still unexpired.

Hear it. Open a window anywhere in America. The air that flows in will be filled with voices chanting, “Gimme that ol’ time,” and time will be mingled with them. Once more, time sings through the varied carols of America, and once again, as once in 1849, it writes this lyric prescription for healing. Take it now. You are no longer in the past, but the past will be to you a nutritional supplement.

Handbill, Duke University Libraries, https://repository.duke.edu/dc/eaa/B0178. Contrast and detail restored.

And this second revelation, datable to an American childhood in the Eisenhower years, has turned out to be a text immune to time. In your old age it now teaches you, at last! that all you have ever needed is the happiness of feeling with your body a red hat, a red tie, and a gun for threatening with.

Contrast, color and detail restored. About the line “Our 60th year,” this source says the Wilson Chemical Company was founded in 1895: https://perma.cc/96CR-QS3A.

You may address your prayer to the fulfillment department.


You Republicans and your underwear

If you entrusted your wealth and your women to Jeffrey Epstein, this advertisement’s roman fonts are for you.

Graham’s Lectures on Chastity, Specially Intended for the Serious Consideration of Young men and Parents, ed. James Coates. Glasgow: James Coates, n.d. Archive.org, https://archive.org/details/grahamslectureso00grahuoft/mode/2up

But if your holdings are with Fox News, scroll down to the fine italic at the bottom.

It comes from an undated Scottish reprint of an American text by the health lecturer Sylvester Graham of Northampton, Massachusetts: 1834, second edition 1837. Whether you know it or not, Graham occupies a happy place in your kitchen. He is the man who gave his name to the Graham cracker. In his lifetime, however, he thought of small pleasures like that one as aspects of a much larger happiness. It may not have been mere commercial motives that placed his ads in America’s pioneer Abolitionist newspaper.

The Liberator, April 7, 1837, page 4

No; because Sylvester Graham conceived of happiness in what we’d probably recognize in 2021 as Republican terms: a liberation from bondage to bondage. You incels who reverently stood before cross and flag on January 6, 2021, believing yourselves worthy at last to track shit through the Capitol, what do you think? Way back in 1837, wasn’t Sylvester speaking for you? Here you are: described on Coates page 57, and then lovingly prescribed for.

The question is often asked,– Is it best for a young man, of suitable age and circumstances, to marry, when he is in a state of great debility and morbid irritability, resulting from self-pollution. To this I reply, as a general rule, that if a young man has so injured his body by any mode of venereal excess, as to be subject to involuntary emissions of semen on occasions of considerable excitement, or irritations of the parts from riding on horseback, or from other means, and also, to be subject to frequent nocturnal emissions, it is far safer and better to defer matrimony, and to avoid all dalliance and familiarity with females, till he has, by a rigorous adherence to the regimen laid down on the pages from 33 to 35, improved his health to such a degree that he is wholly relieved from his involuntary discharges by day and by night. Let him constantly push his exercise in the open air, so far as he can comfortably bear it. If he finds riding on horseback irritates the parts too much, let him avoid that sort of exercise. Where it can be done, regular labour on a farm is the best mode of exercise for such a person. To use the language of young people, if he is in love and courting, or engaged to be married, let him find some good excuse to go away from home, or, by some other means, which are honourable and kind towards his “sweetheart,” absent himself entirely from her, till he recovers from his difficulties, and is in a proper condition to marry.

By providing himself with a quantity of unbolted wheat-meal sea-bread, made very thin, he may with great advantage go a voyage to sea as a sailor.

Yes, the paragraph is only that single sentence. It stands before you as an oracle, chanting Know thyself; quaff thy nutritional supplements. You once were a mere Graham character, but now you have eaten of that which is unbolted. Making your congé from notional “sweetheart,” you have become your destiny: in this instance, as an extra picturesquely costumed as Leslie Fiedler in the scene from Two Years Before the Mast that got D. H. Lawrence classically off.

Ceteris paribus, of course, as Fox News’s legal department will have reminded you in the fine print.

Fall River Monitor, April 7, 1851, page 2

But doesn’t the magnet feel comfortable as it rusts away next to your skin?

The Grand Old Party assures you it does, by Jove. If it doesn’t, that’s what you get for being a pussy.

From the world of William Carlos Williams (requires red-and-blue stereo viewer)

Percy Loomis Sperr, “Post Graduate Hospital: girl in bed looks up from book,” 1923. New York Public Library Digital Collections, images http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-e30a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a9 and http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-e309-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a9. Merged to anaglyph and photoshopped.